Potential customers are more self-reliant and in control of the selling process -- thanks to the digitization of the buyer’s journey. With widespread access to vendor websites, industry publications, research analyst reports and online forums, buyers have increasingly less need to communicate with vendors at the beginning of their journey.
But here’s what’s really interesting. The Thunderbird School of Global Management reports that “two-thirds of today’s business buyers would prefer to research on their own and report that they are able to develop selection criteria or finalize a vendor list based solely on digital content.” The paradox is that buyers are either ignoring or not recollecting exponentially more information when creating their final vendor list. All this readily-available content has become a digital avalanche that sometimes prevents buyers from understanding what they really need to solve their problems successfully.
Vendors typically have only one chance to capture a buyer’s attention when they visit their website. How can you quickly engage buyers to drive their interest in learning more about your offering and your company? One way to gain a seat at the table is by deploying interactive assessment tools and value calculators to answer their questions and help them understand just what they’re trying to solve, and the value of tackling that problem.
Assessment Tools Clarify Objectives
Assessment tools, sometimes called benchmarking tools, help buyers understand whether their company’s current performance is “good” or “bad” relative to a peer group. The resulting insight can provoke deeper research into problem areas. These tools can also identify and measure performance gaps, which is the disconnect between their current state and where they want to be.
These tools resonate so well with buyers because they crystallize areas for improvement, within the buyer’s own mind. This “ah ha” moment has staying power and influences the buyer’s criteria list and next steps, often with the vendor that helped identify the problems.
Value Calculators Quantify Business Outcomes
Once buyers have a greater appreciation of their issues, they want to know the magnitude of the problem. Value calculators allow buyers to independently quantify the size of those problems, and reveal the potential improvements available through a new approach.
The value calculator’s focus on business outcomes pushes buyers closer to contacting a vendor’s sales department for support in building a cost justification. Vendors using value calculators as part of their marketing strategy frequently make a buyer’s short list due to the financial insights provided.
The large amount of digital content available to buyers allows them to create vendor short lists without even talking to a sales rep. The volume of data can also work against buyers as they struggle to discern the qualitative and quantitative benefits of solving their problems. Vendors that provide the right tools to help buyers simply and efficiently achieve their data-gathering goals can distinguish themselves from the competition.